Crawford was the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year two years ago.
Of the two Crawford-based trade rumors have emerged over the last 48 hours (Haywood, Heat), the Clippers would most likely pursue the first as it’d bolster their chances of landing a starting-caliber center before training camp (Haywood’s $10.5 million non-guaranteed deal becomes fully guaranteed if kept after August 1st). Considering how little they would be giving up to get Crawford, receiving him in a trade would be a fantastic addition. However, for the Clippers, who have enough problems, losing their best bench player as well might be too much for them to accept. He is in the past year of his contract and averaged 15.8 points per game last season. Any team looking for veteran leadership, as well as instant offense and a sweet stroke from the three point line will definitely be in the market for Crawford as long as he is available. There also appears to be some big named rumored suitors.
For starters, it benefits the Cavaliers in that they land a scoring threat who can be a Sixth Man replacement for J.R. Smith off the bench. The Cavs recently entered trade talks with the Brooklyn Nets to acquire Joe Johnson for Haywood but complications on that front – and a possible humungous luxury tax bill – makes the deal unlikely.
This also doesn’t even include young guards D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson, each of whom possesses loads of upside and should get adequate playing time next year. Adding both Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford would put the Cavs way into the tax but would give them a roster that might be able to beat just about anyone they come up against in the postseason. Role players like Chris Andersen and Mario Chalmers appear to be the names being floated around and that should not entice the Clippers one bit.
“I’m 100 percent healthy, motivated and ready for next year”, Crawford said. “I believe I have a big year in store”. After averaging almost 16 points per game last season, the Seattle native has plenty left in the tank. They owe the veteran guard nearly $25 million next season, and it would be a lot better if someone else was paying that salary.
That team might end up being the Los Angeles Clippers.